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Concern Expressed over Anti-semitic Statements by Greek Church Leaders

Two Jewish leaders met here Friday with a member of the Greek Cabinet to voice concern over a stepped-up series of anti-Semitic statements by senior prelates of the Greek Orthodox Church. Joseph Lovinger and Daniel Alhantis, president and vice-president of the Central Council of Greek Jewish Committees, told Gerassimos Frangatos, Minister for Education and Religious Affairs, that the Jewish community feels insufficiently protected against such statements.

They referred especially to a remark made early in March by the Bishop of Chios in the presence of prominent government leaders. The Bishop referred to the discredited “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” in describing Judaism and Zionism as “dangers to Greek youth and civilization.”

In an official reply, Frangatos said such remarks come from “irresponsible people who represent neither the State nor the Church.” He stressed that “the Greek State does not differentiate among Greek citizens” and considers Greek Jews “beloved and honored citizens.”

Jewish circles here noted, however, that Frangatos did not indicate what measures–if any–the military government planned to take against the Bishop of Chios and other bishops who have made similar statements, or how–if at all–it would act to prevent such declarations in the future. The Greek Orthodox Church is the “state religion,” and the government has ample means to control remarks by its leaders.

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